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Umbrella Policy Fact Finding ....initial information
Old 01-29-2015, 11:19 AM   #1
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Umbrella Policy Fact Finding ....initial information

Started working with USAA to get umbrella policy for all our "stuff."

We use a couple of different companies for various bits of our coverage now ....USAA for cars, State Farm on our main home in Virginia (USAA was 20% more expensive), Armed Forces Insurance on a vacation house in Virginia (USAA refused coverage due to the very unusual earthquake in Virginia about 4 years ago and since then was substantially more expensive), and Universal Property and Casualty for two rental homes in Pensacola, FL (no loan on them and USAA will not insure rental properties built before 2001).

USAA will not write an umbrella policy unless they hold all the properties, and they will only insure rentals in Florida through a single company called MacNeill Group via Southern Oak Insurance. The quotes from Southern Oak are 250% higher than the current apples to apples coverage.

As an aside from the core topic, it looks to me like USAA is increasingly trying to limit their risk ...to the point of no longer servicing the needs of their historic clients (low risk military officers) ...makes them about the same as any other company ...and, substantively more expensive. Sort of a boutique insurance company.

Back to the core topic ...given my mix of property and coverages, and my preferred insurer's shifted priorities, it gets a bit more confused ...how do those of you in the same general position insure, which companies do you find to be responsive and historically string financially, etc.

Thanks!




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Old 01-29-2015, 11:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by stephenson View Post
We use a couple of different companies for various bits of our coverage now ....USAA for cars, State Farm on our main home in Virginia (USAA was 20% more expensive), Armed Forces Insurance on a vacation house in Virginia (USAA refused coverage due to the very unusual earthquake in Virginia about 4 years ago and since then was substantially more expensive), and Universal Property and Casualty for two rental homes in Pensacola, FL (no loan on them and USAA will not insure rental properties built before 2001).

As an aside from the core topic, it looks to me like USAA is increasingly trying to limit their risk ...to the point of no longer servicing the needs of their historic clients (low risk military officers).
I don't see where your multiple homes and rental properties fits the "low risk military officer" criteria. Sounds high risk to me.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:23 PM   #3
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I can't speak to your set of complicated personal issues regarding the insurance, but I can tell you I use personalumbrella.com for my umbrella policy, and they didn't seem to care who my base policies were with, just needed to know the details each year when I renew.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:26 PM   #4
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My umbrella policy through USAA covered a rental property in Tampa insured by Citizens. USAA wouldn't write a fire policy on the property, but had no problem extending the umbrella coverage to it. We sold that particular property in 2013, so perhaps they have changed. We still have one other property in Florida that USAA does insure, but the price has gone up quite a bit over the past few years. Our primary home in PA has remained fairly steady.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:00 PM   #5
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We use State Farm for cars, home & umbrella. We had to use the umbrella for a property lawsuit, and I have much loyalty towards them. Those lawyers were bulldogs. And yes, the umbrella premium jumped afterwards.


The multi-line discount is worth it, and if something happens to me, the spouse won't have so much to figure out.
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:41 PM   #6
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Thanks ...couple of follow-up questions, please?.

Sarah ...is umbrella the underwriter or do they sub it out somehow? (I'm not particularly knowledgeable about insurance companies, but understand they sub business back and forth ...). Were their rates competitive with other companies you checked with?

Dash man ...I'll make sure we follow up and ask USAA if they just "forgot" to tell us they will "allow" other companies, but our impression is that they specify this particular company.

SumDay ...State Farm was very fair with us when northern Virginia had a big time hail storm about 15 years ago ...so, I will make sure we review their process, limitations and rates.

REWahoo ...not quite sure what to say other than the change in USAA has been pretty astonishing ...as they grew from specialty insurance company to giant financial company. We liked them a lot better when they were the former. Far better service and generally didn't restricted what they would cover, nor where. Perhaps their focus on the military officer corps and narrow disasters in areas with high concentrations changed their business case. But, to be clear, it is certainly not the USAA I once did insurance business with exclusively. Yeah, I know everything changes ...

Would appreciate continuing inputs on insurance companies folks are using for their umbrella policy needs.

Thanks, again!


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Old 01-29-2015, 05:55 PM   #7
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I think it's worth mentioning that AFAIK when USAA decided to get out of Florida due to the hurricane risk, they grandfathered all members currently insured there. They also insure active military members who get stationed there on official orders. So in that sense they were very fair about it.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:57 PM   #8
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I've been having similar problems since we moved our primary residence to FL. We got a policy through Federated in FL, but in the process we lost our liability insurance in our MD home under Allstate since they no longer insured our primary. As of now I've got Federated (FL), Erie (MD), and a legacy USAA policy in VA. That one expires in July and since I'm not USAA eligible I'll have to find somebody else. And we couldn't get umbrella from any of them.

I'm going to check into Sarah's suggestion. Someone also told me about ASI (American Strategic Insurance) which is based out of FL and insures in MD and VA (our other houses) too. I tried to get with them, but was rejected for having cement tile roof shingles (wtf?, ubiquitous in SW FL). I'm going to try again later through a different agent.

What a PITA this has all become. I've actually considered changing our primary residence to MD to get out of this situation. The break even point between no income tax and the insurance situation is approaching rapidly.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
I can't speak to your set of complicated personal issues regarding the insurance, but I can tell you I use personalumbrella.com for my umbrella policy, and they didn't seem to care who my base policies were with, just needed to know the details each year when I renew.
can you elaborate on http://personalumbrella.com/ ?
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:09 AM   #10
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We use Chubb for our umbrella and also have multiple homes. Chubb also has our underlying coverage for homes and rental properties. But cars, motorcycles and boats have other underlying coverage and Chubb provides an umbrella. Keep and mind Chubb cost more but when Hurricane Sandy occurred I realized the benefit of having Chubb and paying more each year. I stopped the annual complaints to my broker.
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:38 AM   #11
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One thing that I found out when we bought our umbrella was that it was cheaper to increase our base coverages and buy a smaller umbrella than to leave our base coverages as they were and buy a bigger umbrella (all with the same insurer).
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:23 AM   #12
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A couple of reasons USAA might want to write all the underlying coverages: first, the way an umbrella is written, it may cover little "gaps" in coverage on your underlying policies. That's called "dropping down" because the primary policy provided no coverage at all but the umbrella provides first-dollar coverage. If USAA writes the underlying policies they know where the gaps are and can price accordingly. If your underlying policies are with another companies, that's a lot trickier. (I recently read that some of the smaller, highly-competitive auto companies are tweaking their policy wording so that situations where, say, you rent a car and a friend drives it and they cause damage, you're not covered.)


Second, in the case of a very large claim, USAA has control of the whole settlement process. They don't have to work with an insurer on the underlying policy who might not care about how much the claim is settled for since they're just on the hook for their full limits and USAA is stuck with the rest.


And yes, they do "sub" business. It's called reinsurance and I worked in that industry for years. No worries there. It helps stabilize the results of individual insurers. As long as they're buying reinsurance from reputable companies (and USAA is a class act so I'm sure they are), that's a good thing.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:22 AM   #13
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Gosh, suddenly I'm all about insurance.
I suggested the ASI folks for Harley back some time ago, and I hope they will be able to get your multi-state policies all sorted out.

I use a local insurance broker for all my policies. He's the one who hooked me up with the Personal Umbrella company. I think there is some merit to using a local broker, BUT THEY MUST NOT BE CAPTIVE AGENTS, but rather ones that have access to a wide range of companies and policies.

I typically shop everything at least every other year. As a hurricane veteran (wayyy back in 1989), I know that it is catastrophic coverage, at least as far as the HO3 is concerned. If you ever make a small claim, you are toast. So I shop on price.

There are usually some discounts available for companies that have ties to one another, I think we get some kind of discount between ASI and our car insurance, which is Safeco. I also have an RV policy with Progressive, and another RV policy with National General for our school bus.

Easiest thing I think would be to get in touch with a broker and ask them to quote everything you've got, including umbrella, and see if they can beat what you have through your existing company. I don't think you can buy direct from PersonalUmbrella, but I've never tried.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:10 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the inputs and comments ....we're in the midst of "discovery" ...will report back what happens!
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:12 AM   #15
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I think it's worth mentioning that AFAIK when USAA decided to get out of Florida due to the hurricane risk, they grandfathered all members currently insured there. They also insure active military members who get stationed there on official orders. So in that sense they were very fair about it.
as long as the home is built to 2001(?) code. I have found that other insurers provide better rates for same or more coverage in FL than USAA does. This is true for both cars and homes.
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:58 AM   #16
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tell me who these good insurance companies are in Florida please. USAA IS MAKING A KILLING, so much so that all their employess got a 20% raise for the past two years. It would have been nice to give them 10 and give me back 10.

I am seriously considering dropping them and get my $10k out of subscribers savings account. The only way to get it is to quit them.
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